Just weeks after announcing that it was robbing Netflix of one of its most popular series, NBCUniversal has teased out that its forthcoming streaming service will officially launch in April of next year.
Variety reported Thursday that NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke shared the news during the second quarter earnings call for its parent company Comcast. And following news that NBCUniversal was taking The Office back from Netflix for its own streaming service, Burke was quoted as saying that the company considers the series to be “one of the tentpole programs on our platforms.”
NBCUniversal announced in June that all nine seasons of the American adaptation of The Office, which originally aired on NBC beginning in 2005, would stream exclusively on the forthcoming service beginning in 2021.
Pearlena Igbokwe, president of Universal Television, said in a statement at the time that the show was “one of our most prized series, and we are thrilled it has found an exciting new home where generation after generation will continue to discover and rediscover Michael Scott’s most cringe-worthy moments, Jim and Pam’s will-they-or-won’t-they, and the incredible quirky ensemble that makes each episode a masterclass in comedy.”
NBCUniversal announced its forthcoming streaming service in January, saying at the time that the service “will feature some of the world’s most popular television and film franchises, including homegrown original programming as well as content from outside partners.” The service will be ad-supported but will also offer an ad-free option for a fee.
Netflix, in what certainly appeared to be a petty dig at the platform, tweeted in June that it was “sad that NBC has decided to take The Office back for its own streaming platform,” but added that “members can binge watch the show to their hearts’ content ad-free on Netflix until January 2021” (emphasis ours). Yeesh.
I can’t imagine that losing a single show is going to be enough of a pull to see subscribers jump ship, but then again, analysis by Neilsen found The Office was the most-watched series on Netflix in 2018. Plus, Netflix isn’t exactly in a great position to be losing even more viewers than it already is.